how important is how I feel

“an asexual is someone who doesn’t enjoy having sex”. I wasn’t going to nitpick questions on the Slate Star Codex survey because everyone else was already doing that, but this one’s kind of interesting. There aren’t any very recent examples of me having enjoyed having sex, but I don’t identify as asexual on the basis that I probably would have, given the opportunity. Anyway this is entirely irrelevant to what I was about to say, it only occurred to me because I was switching to a text editor while WordPress was busy being slow, and came across my SSC Survey gripes pad.

How important are my feelings?

It’s 18:54 on Sunday and I still haven’t done anything productive this weekend, other than meeting up with a friend. Certainly no todo-list type things. I felt bad about that when I first noticed it a couple of hours ago and attempted a rationality reboot. I set myself the challenge: what would I need to do in order that, at the end of the day, I would not feel bad about that?

This didn’t lead anywhere. Before I wonder about that, I’m wondering: is it even the right question?

What I’m picturing is that I would pick some small task to do, make some headway towards accomplishing it or maybe manage to finish it off entirely if it was something really small. Then, it would be the end of the day and I still wouldn’t really be feeling any better about how the weekend had gone. Is my anticipation of that feeling accurate? And if so, should I try to search for a plan that I anticipate would lead to me feeling better instead?

How I’m feeling right now is sort of how it feels at the start of one of the downward parts of my productivity cycle. I’m sad about that, of course, because I didn’t capture anything like as much value from the upward part as I would have liked, as always. But I should also be curious: is this even really a downward slope (or just a little downward wiggle, or more interestingly a point that could go either way depending on how I handle it)? What can I learn about what’s going on, in order to rescue it or at least learn a lesson for next time?

It’s possible this has to do with my feelings. If it didn’t, then I’d be tempted to say that how I feel at the end of the day is sort of a short term thing that I don’t need to worry about, and my slightly longer term feelings of satisfaction with life will benefit from an extra task having been accomplished. This is sort of like with my recent donation: doing that felt really bad, but I anticipated feeling better about things once it had been done, and that does indeed seem true. Is this smaller todo going to be just like that?

I don’t really think that I have a rich emotional life that I’m somehow totally oblivious to. I think most of my emotions really are pretty bland, though when I do feel something it might still be worth looking at it to see if it’s giving me information (or just assume that it’s giving me information and try and work out plans that I feel good about without really caring too much why I feel good about one thing over another).

I have, at least, identified one thing. I need some kind of love or attention more than I had really accounted for, and I often go on Facebook to seek it out. But Facebook isn’t optimized for that, and I am often reluctant to start what might be a high value conversation for fear of getting rejected. People on Facebook often seem to act friendlier than they are really intending to be, and interesting discussions often fizzle out or I get ignored entirely.

So it’s hard to optimize my Facebook time for what I really want to get out of it. This can lead to timewasting on there.

Anyway, the broader issue of wanting more attention than I know how to get is a difficult one, falling into the broader category of things that I want that I can’t have. I don’t even know how many examples of that kind of problem I have, because I usually want to avoid thinking about them. It’s hard to think of an ideology that celebrates the moment you realize you want something you don’t have: you are more likely to face disdain either for wanting the thing, or for not being able to get it.

I felt somewhat like making a list of all the things I was dissatisfied with in this way (including the one introduced in the first paragraph, which turned out to be relevant after all). It seems like that could lead to feeling more negative though. I wanted instead to think of something that would make me feel better.

I couldn’t quite think of such a thing.

Anyway, this kind of soul searching seems like a dead end for tonight, and I had something more concrete I wanted to write about next.

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